Whilst we were working in West Field yesterday (19th) a small group of birds, perhaps a dozen or so, were feeding at the far edge of the pond. We did not have binoculars but the informed opinion was that they were redshank.

Sights and sounds

I saw a fox crossing the West Field this morning and then heard a very noisy woodpecker in Pony Wood. This afternoon a flock of 40ish linnets were having a mini murmeratio along the Long Pads footpath.

Birds eggs

The volunteers this morning discovered this bird’s nest and the shells of nine eggs, all hatched safely we hope. The nest was tucked into the new hedge in Pony Wood, you can see the bottom of the wire fence. The eggs are about half the size of a modest hen’s egg.


Can anyone identify?

Ian has a section of egg shell if that will help.

Volunteer session 9th June 2018

Once again I forgot to post this prior to the session but here is the record of what we did.

The warm and sunny weather continued and attracted 14 volunteers to the Saturday volunteering session. Ian continued the collection of signed consent forms under the GDPR, tedious but legal.

  • We cleared round the base of new saplings:
    • Along the Pads footpath
    • In the new Pony Wood hedge
    • In the ‘Rotary Club’ extension to Pony Wood.
    • Around the meadowsweet in the wild flower margin.
  • Further work was done servicing the nosepump and preparing for a better pump system using the existing pipe.
  • At Keith’s suggestion we all assisted thinning the fruit trees of multiples.
  • A start was made on clearing the vistas in front of the Orchard benches


Reminder, Saturday 3rd March planting day

Here is Jonathan’s reminder

Greetings All,

A quick reminder for you that the Fairfield Association is holding a Tree
Planting Saturday volunteer session on March 3rd meeting at 9.30am (note
the earlier time).
The shed will be the meeting point.
This session begins the work on the ‘Pony Wood project’ by planting the
hedge alongside the existing fencing and beginning to plant additional
trees to extend the wood.

We hope to get 600 saplings planted, so ‘all hands on deck’ if you can
spare them please. A few points to note:
* Please bring your own refreshments on this occasion for a mid morning
* You might want to bring your own spade and / or gloves.
* Full instructions will be given.
* The saplings are supplied by the Woodlands Trust – partly through their
Community Programme via a donation by the local Rotary Club and partly
through their MOREhedges scheme, by which the FA gets saplings at a very
reasonable price.

If you can please come along as we begin this exciting next step in the
development of the Nature Reserve.

Best wishes,

Winter wildlife

The Hedge Working Party were mainly working near Pony Wood this morning and so had a look in the wood for the recently reported little owl. We didn’t see that but we did put up a brown hare which went bounding off through the wood.

Later I had a lovely sighting of a mistle thrush in the Orchard

Little owl???

Whilst on a walk along the Pads footpath this afternoon one of the regular dog walkers reported to me he had just seen (1.30pm) a small owl with vole like creature in its beak flying from Pony / Little wood area across to the small copse in Mr Ayrton’s fields.

As this was a diurnal sighting of a small owl we thought it highly likely to be a little owl.

The same man observed two roe deer last week crossing West Field, jumping over the Pads footpath and disappearing across the Flora field. He has a video of the first section.

I encouraged him to join the blog.

Stoat, starlings and linnets

Last Wednesday (8th February) as the Hedge Working Party past Little Wood we saw a stoat dart across the wood.

Today (11th Feb) we saw a biggish group of starlings adjacent to West Field. I would say a couple of hundred. Also a flock of linnets in the tree adjacent to the Pads footpath.

Oh and a moorhen in Big Meadow next to the Fauna path

Volunteering session Saturday 14th January

Sorry I didn’t give notice of the session as I thought the blog was ‘under repair’. Now I know its back up and running here is the report of what we did.

A rather disappointing turnout of only 11 volunteers on a lovely winter’s morning. Problems with temperamental hedge trimming machines also made for a poor start but once under way we got a lot done:

  • We finished weeding the wildflower plot of couch grass.
  • The root-suckered blackthorn alongside the Fauna path was cut back.
  • We finished off cutting back bramble invading Carr House Meadow. This will need further work digging out the rooted stems.
  • The willow living screen alongside the School pond was trimmed, repaired and strengthened. Still a lot to do here.
  • The pruning of the Orchard fruit trees continued.
  • Corrugated iron sheets were transported to Lower Sowerholme in readiness for further brash burning.
  • The very much overgrown and underused ‘log benches’ in Pony Wood were taken up and used to create a habitat pile within the wood.
  • Brash from hedge laying which had strayed onto the Stump Circle was dragged back into the woodland.
  • A broken strand of barbed wire near the Ash Tree dogleg on the Fauna path was repaired.
  • Two tables and a gazebo were erected for the afternoon wassailing.

Deer, birds and flowers

Three sightings of roe deer today, two very definite ones of a single deer running through Lower Sowerholme and then later in the Flora Field heading into Pony Wood. The third sighting of two deer between Lower Sowerholme and Flora Field rather more certain.

Whilst in the Big Meadow Bog ragworting we put up a couple of snipe.

Two new flowers to report. First water mint in Lower Sowerholme


And finally, now that the haymaking has finished we can report Common Spotted Orchid in the Hay Meadow. About 20 of them in total but we didn’t want to encourage people climbing the gates by announcing them earlier. This photo is from 22nd June.